Fleet News

Europcar signs memorandum of understanding

May 2000: AT last, a conclusion to the Europcar Lease saga now that Europcar International has signed a memorandum of understanding with the financial services division of BNP/Parisbas.

Europcar Lease was jointly owned by BNP and Europcar International (a subsidiary of Volkswagen), but after BNP's merger with Parisbas, owner Arval Service Lease, the future of Europcar Lease became a hot topic. In the end, it took six months of negotiations to reach an agreement in which Arval bought Europcar International's 50% stake in Europcar Lease.

Europcar International had also wanted to buy the leasing company, but Europcar Lease's strong commercial links with both the BNP branch network and the boards of directors of its major clients (Vivendi, St Gobain, Danone, France Telecom) tipped the balance in favour of Arval.

Under the terms of the agreement BNP/Parisbas is buying the fleet portfolio of Europcar Lease for an undisclosed sum. Europcar will keep the rights to the name 'Europcar Lease' and will continue to develop its car leasing business. Europcar Lease's customer base will come under the Arval (not Arval Service Lease) name, and there are no immediate plans to merge legally Arval Service Lease and Arval.

Both will keep their own management teams.

Philippe Noubel, director general of Arval Service Lease, said: 'We have to understand and learn how Europcar Lease operates. It has some products that we don't have, and therefore some things that we don't know how to do today.'

  • Didier Jobart is editor of Decision Auto, France's top fleet magazine.
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